Alysse graduated from Lee University in 2019 and currently works as the marketing coordinator for a local non-profit organization. It was in 2018 that Alysse devoted herself to mind+body+spirit integration after suffering from anxiety and clinical depression. This journey brought to life a passion for cooking + food experimentation.

“Let’s start by acknowledging—everything diet, nutrition, or health related can be so confusing. Instagram influencers offering unsolicited health/eating content doesn’t make it any easier on people, and the popular “what I eat in a day” YouTube videos are rampant. Spending too much time on social media is damaging enough as is!

Dieting does not work. Shaming yourself because you didn’t stick to an unrealistic diet plan is worse. 

One thing is certain: as a living and breathing human, you need energy to perform necessary body functions. This doesn’t mean skipping meals or intentionally eating less because you missed the workout you told yourself you’d do. 

Registered dietician Colleen Christensen deserves all the credit for changing the way I think about food. Colleen is a pioneer for transforming the harmful diet/unrealistic body image narratives that saturate Instagram and thus the minds of women everywhere. She’s all about fostering a healthy relationship with food/body, intuitive eating, and food freedom. Colleen debunks the belief that certain foods are good or bad. “When we give food moral value, it gives that food power over us. This hinders your ability to listen to your body and eat intuitively,” she says. I couldn’t agree more.

Having a healthy mind/body relationship with food isn’t a one and done kind of thing. Nurturing a healthy mindset takes time, energy, ups and downs, bad body-image days, and mindful awareness. It means honoring your body and skipping the workout when you need a rest day. It means working out because it feels good and not because you have to. 

When grocery shopping, I prefer to buy organic produce. Though it’s less budget-friendly, buying organic supports sustainable farming, preserves non-renewable resources, and ensures I’m ingesting less harmful pesticides. The Soil Association notes that an organic diet increases the consumption of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Similarly, surface water from non-organic soil can deposit pesticides into bodies of water, which impacts drinking water. Additionally, animal habitats suffer when permeated with pesticides. 

Frugality is super important to me, so I don’t buy organic everything because i’m ballin on a budget. 

So, I present two lists: the “dirty dozen” and the “clean fifteen.”

The “dirty dozen” displays the twelve ‘dirty’ crops that farmers use the most pesticides on. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), these are the items that make the list (in this order): Strawberries, Spinach, Kale, Nectarines, Apples, Grapes, Peaches, Cherries, Pears, Tomatoes, Celery, and Potatoes. The EWG believes these foods are safer and contain less pesticides when they are organically grown.

The “clean fifteen” determines the fruits and veggies that have the fewest concentrations of pesticides. They are Avocados, Sweet Corn, Pineapple, Onions, Papaya, Sweet Peas Frozen, Eggplant, Asparagus, Cauliflower, Cantaloupe, Broccoli, Mushrooms, Cabbage, Honeydew, Melon. The EWG asserts these are the safest foods to buy conventionally and don’t need to be purchased organic.

I encourage you to honor your body, whatever that looks like for you. Colleen states, “If your body was in debt with energy from dieting, you might need to pay it interest.”

Eat until you feel satisfied, eat intuitively so there’s no need to binge, and don’t eat less because you decided to sleep through the workout. Food is fuel!

Persian poet Rumi said “I am not this hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within.” So, a reminder: You are not your hair, you are not your skin, you are the soul that lives within.

Our bodies are merely vessels that carry.


  1. Stuart Danker

    Great post. I often exercise because I have to though, because if I only do it to feel good, I’d probably only do it once a month. And I totally agree that it’s never about dieting but about moderation in lifestyle. Thanks for sharing!


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